To CAFTA-DR Or Not To CAFTA-DR?

Chuck Zimmerman

It looks like U. S. Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns, will be getting right into the thick of the international trade debate. I was just alerted to a Monday press conference announcement by the National Association of Wheat Growers.

Agriculture Coalition for CAFTA-DR to Host Press Briefing and Teleconference

WHAT: Leaders of agriculture from around the nation will join Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and others to advocate passage of the Free Trade Agreement with Central America and the Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR). The agriculture leaders represent a broad coalition of more than 55 organizations strongly committed to passage of the agreement spanning the spectrum from meats, grains and specialty crops.

WHEN: 4:00 p.m. EST, Monday, April 11, 2005

WHO: Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, Ambassador Allen F. Johnson, chief U.S. agriculture negotiator, J. B. Penn, under secretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services, Leaders of agriculture from around the nation

WHERE: Horizon Ballroom, Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.

WHY: The nations of CAFTA-DR represent the second largest market in Latin America for U.S. products. The agreement will provide nearly $1.5 billion in additional U.S. agricultural exports by the end of the full implementation period, creating tremendous export opportunities for U.S. farmers and agriculture as a whole.

For more information contact Tonya Kemp.

I’m sure we’ll be dialed into the conference phone feed and hope to have more information afterwards.

Government, Media

Commodity Group News & Notes

Chuck Zimmerman

If you want to keep up on happening with sheep and wool you might want to subscribe to ASI Weekly. You’ll need to visit the American Sheep Industry Association to get it done. Here’s an excerpt from the latest issue:

American Lamb Referendum Approved

Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the continuation of the Lamb Promotion, Research and Information Order.
Of the 3,490 valid ballots cast, 80 percent favored the program. Additionally, those who favored the continuation of the program accounted for 84 percent of the total sheep production voted. This referendum required a majority vote in each count to be approved.
“This is an important success sheep producers can add to the strong markets and enthusiasm the industry has enjoyed in recent years,” commented Peter Orwick, American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) executive director.

For more information contact Judy Malone.

Ag Group

Are Any Of The 6 Million Farmers?

Chuck Zimmerman

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has done a little bit of research on podcasting. Here’s an excerpt from a new article on their website called “Podcasting catches on”:

More than 22 million American adults own iPods or MP3 players and 29% of them have downloaded podcasts from the Web so that they could listen to audio files at a time of their choosing. That amounts to more than 6 million adults who have tried this new feature that allows internet “broadcasts” to be downloaded onto their portable listening device.

You can download and read the full report on their website, including an interesting commentary that describes how they worded the questions since there is a distinction between podcasting an audio file to a portable audio device and just subscribing to an audio file in an RSS feed that downloads to your computer’s hard drive only.

I think this is kind of a fine line distinction personally. I don’t care if you listen to our ZimmCast on your computer in your office or your portable audio device on an extended bike ride through the mountains!

Now if we can just get these folks to ask if the person they’re interviewing is a farmer!

Audio, Podcasts

Commodity Group News & Notes

Chuck Zimmerman

I thought this was intriguing. A potato acreage buydown program! Historic. Should we stock up on chips?

American Potato Cooperative Begins Acreage Bid Buy-Out Program

IDAHO FALLS, April 4, 2005 – March 30 and 31 marked the second meeting of the United Potato Growers of America Board of Directors in Salt Lake City, Utah where representatives of state and regional cooperatives across the country agreed to participate in the first national acreage bid buy-down in the history of United States potato production.

For more information contact Angela Hemauer.

Ag Group

Agency News & Notes

Chuck Zimmerman

Those out of the box folks at the Meyocks Group had some good news to share while I was there yesterday. When you land a new account it’s always time for a celebration!

FIRESTONE AGRICULTURAL TIRE DIVISION NAMES
THE MEYOCKS GROUP AS AGENCY OF RECORD

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – March 14, 2005 – Firestone Agricultural Tire Division has named The Meyocks Group as its agency of record for all marketing communications. This includes the company’s agricultural, construction, forestry and ATV tire segments.

Headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, Firestone Agricultural Tire Division has more than 60 years of experience in manufacturing durable, high-performance tires for the agricultural, construction and forestry industries.

For more information contact Doug Jeske.

Agency

Agribusiness News & Notes

Chuck Zimmerman

According to a release I just received from Brandy Craig at Archer>Malmo, Select herbicide from Valent is doing very well with the growers of four different commodities.

Select® Holds Top Spot for Cotton, Soybean, Sugarbeet and Sunflower Growers

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (April 7, 2005) – Select® Herbicide has once again achieved the No. 1 spot in customer demand for cotton, soybean, sugarbeet and sunflower growers, according to Doane ag data. 2004 makes the fifth year Select has emerged as the No. 1 grass herbicide for cotton, soybeans and sugarbeets and the second year it has been named No. 1 for sunflower growers.

Valent Select Logo

For more information contact either Brandy Craig or Lori Theine.

Agribusiness

More Blogging From Meyocks Group

Chuck Zimmerman

Today I had a great meeting at Meyocks Group in Des Moines. We talked about public relations, Talking News Releases and blogging. I sensed a high level of interest in blogging and hope I was able to offer some good basic information through demonstration and discussion. If you look back through my previous posts and at all the links on our blog you’ll find many resources you can go to about various aspects of blogging.

I tried to anticipate questions in my presentation but some of the ones that were asked included, “Do we measure how many reporters use the releases we send out?” and “What’s different about your service and NAFB’s?” I have written about both these questions and would encourage you to look back in the archives of the category, Talking News Release to visit them.

I could see the wheels turning in the minds of the people in the room. “Are blogging, rss, podcasting, targeting broadcast news reporters good ideas and how do I integrate them into our client’s plans?”

I want to thank Jill Green for inviting me in today.

Chuck Interviews Doug Jeske

I interviewed Doug Jeske for an upcoming ZimmCast. Doug’s a Senior Vice President, Account Services for Meyocks Group.

Agency, Blogging, Talking News Release

Blog Readers In The Agrimarketing World?

Chuck Zimmerman

There certainly are blog readers in the agrimarketing business!

This is now a documentable fact according to the results of Agri Marketing’s (magazine) first monthly online poll. They asked visitors to respond to a simple question, “How often do you read blogs of any kind?” The results are posted on their home page and are worth a look. You can also find articles in the March issue about blogging, including one written by yours truly at the request of Agri Marketing.

As I would have suspected from my on-going informal poll of agrimarketers I come in contact with, the majority said they didn’t at all. But only by a small margin, meaning that many do. I think this monthly poll is a great new feature of the Agri Marketing website by the way and I applaud them for starting it!

As you can see from my earlier posts today and you will see tomorrow, there’s definite interest on the part of agencies about this new web communications phenomenon. Clients are asking about it. Are you ready to answer them?

Our weekly podcast, the ZimmCast, will feature interviews with agency representatives, talking about what they’re doing when it comes to blogging and how they see it fitting into an overall communications and marketing plan.

Agency, Blogging, Public Relations, Publication

Real People Are Being Heard, Finally

Chuck Zimmerman

The folks at Edelman, a global PR firm, and Intelliseek, a marketing intelligence firm, have produced a great document on blogging you should download and read. They claim that blogging isn’t a passing fad but any company that fails to grasp this fact may be. Pretty strong words about something that has received little attention in the agrimarketing world!

The white paper is called, “Trust MEdia…How Real People Are Finally Being Heard

Use the link to download the Edelman & Intelliseek white paper about the impact of blogs on communications. The document “explores the importance of the blogging phenomenon for public relations and marketers and provides a first-of-its-kind directory of influential bloggers, segmented by industry. “

Agency, Agribusiness, Blogging, Public Relations